Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Kendrapara, Oct 11:
Cyclone Hudhud had its first casualty when a girl drowned and an 11-year-old boy went missing after a boat engaged in evacuation work capsized in a crocodile-infested creek in Odisha’s Kendrapara district on Saturday.
The mechanised boat of the Forest department, which had a capacity to carry between 15 and 20 people, was carrying about 30 people, mostly women and children from Baunsagadi village in the Satabhaya region.
The boat was on its way to Okilapal, where a cyclone shelter is located.
Most of the travellers on the boat fell into the water as the boat overturned in the middle of the creek. While most of them managed to swim to safety, a 6-year old girl Pooja Mallick could not.
A ten-year old boy Hemant Mallick who has gone missing after the mishap was untraceable when the last reports came in.
Fortunately, none of them was attacked by crocodiles. None of the villagers had worn life jacket.
In wake of the very severe cyclone storm over Bay of Bengal moving towards the coast, the Kendrapara district administration started evacuating vulnerable sections of the population from Satabhaya, situated on the edge of the sea.
Around 3500 people living in Satabhaya region depend on the lone country boat that helps cross them the creek every day. They cross the creek, situated close to the Bhitarkanika sanctuary, with utmost precautions as it is full of crocodiles.